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Understanding how risk is discussed in healthcare

Published: 04/08/2015

Risk is the chance that any activity or action could happen and harm you. Almost everything we do has an associated risk. Living is a risky business. People will generally take risks if they feel that there is an advantage or benefit. We need to look at risks and benefits together. Normally the benefits of an action should outweigh the risks. There is no such thing as a zero risk. How you view risk depends to a large extent on your own circumstances and ‘comfort zone’.

This information leaflet will help you understand how your doctor and other healthcare professionals will discuss risk with you in relation to your health care and medical treatment.

This patient information leaflet is based on the RCOG’s Clinical Governance Advice Presenting Information on Risk, which contains a full list of the sources of evidence used to produce this guidance.

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